Yield, Intake and Chemical Profile of Milk of Commercially Available Rabbits at First Parity
This experiment designed to determine the milk yield, daily milk intake and chemical composition of Rabbit milk at first parity was carried out at the Rabbitry unit of Ekiti State University Teaching and Research Farm Ado- Ekiti. Eighteen Rabbits comprising 15 does and 3 bucks were used for the study. The rabbits were fed ad libitum, a rabbit ration containing 18.1% Crude protein,13.7% Crude Fibre and 2.28% fat. The animals were divided into three parts of 5 does each for collection of data on milk yield, milk intake and chemical analyses. Milk yield was determined by weigh-suckle-weigh method; Daily milk intake of kits by weighing the kits per litter before and after suckling and chemical analyses determined on milk samples collected manually at 8:00 am on 1st. 7th, 14th and 21st day of lactation by gently massaging the mammary gland of the does on injection of oxytocin. The values of milk yield recorded in this study were 460 g, 755 g and 930 g for the 7th, 14th and 21st day of lactation, respectively which were significantly (p<0.05) different. Milk yield and intake as the number of kits/litter increased were inversely proportional. Although, statistical significant (p<0.05) differences were observed among the daily milk production of does as the number of kits per litter increased, similar significant (p<0.05) difference in daily milk intake of 3 kittens/litter and 4 and 5 kittens per litter were observed but the 4 and 5 kittens per litter were similar (p>0.05). Dry matter content revealed statistical (p>0.05) similarities between collections on 7th and 21st day and between 14th and 21st day. However, significant (p<0.05) differences were obtained between 1st and the other days and between 7th and 14th day. The ash content though increased from 1.6 % on the 1st day to 2.1 % on the 21st day of lactation revealed no statistical (p>0.05) differences between 1st, 7th, and 14th day of collection but statistical (p<0.05) differences existed between 21st day and other days. The protein and fat contents revealed statistical (p<0.05) differences between collections on 1st day and the other days but days 7, 14 and 21 were similar (p>0.05). The protein content decreased from 13.5 % on the 1st to 10.8 % on the 21st day of lactation. The lactose content in the milk ranged from 1.4–1.9 g 100 g-1 and the energy content between 8.3 MJ Kg-1 and 9.3 MJ Kg-1 during the lactation period. The mineral profile of the milk except potassium, calcium and phosphorus which showed significant (p<0.05) differences among days of lactation were similar (p<0.05). In conclusion, milk yield increased with increased week of lactation and litter size. The macromineral profile of the milk increased as the lactation aged but the micromineral profile was stable. Rabbit milk is low in lactose and high in lipid, protein and energy contents.
Fajemilehin Samuel Oladipo Kolawole, Adegun Maria Kikelomo, Ogunlade J Taiwo and Fagbuaro Sola Sunday